Hazardous Materials Response Teams

The State of Maine eceives funding from the US Department of Homeland Security to assist in preparing hazardous materials teams to respond to chemical releases and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). With the funding provided, Maine Emergency Management Agency provides response equipment and maintenance allowances so each team can be properly equipped and trained.

The teams in Maine are a mixture of full time departments, volunteer department, and industrial based teams. In each case, individuals who are on a hazardous materials team spend considerable time over and above their normal duties, work and family in receiving training and being prepared.

The State of Maine has a total of 16 funded teams that are divided into two categories: Regional Response Teams (RRTs) and Decontamination Strike Teams (DSTs)

Regional Response Teams

Maine has 8 RRT’s that meet Federal standards under the FEMA typing requirements. RRT’s by the FEMA typing standards are considered to be able to respond to a variety of releases in an effort to mitigate the release. Initial training for individual members of a RRT will include a technician level training program that involves 120 to 150 hours of classroom and field training. Beyond this will be training in NIMS, specialized equipment and local response plans. All told it is not unusual to have a team member receive 250 or more hours of training in their first year.

Decontamination Strike Teams

DSTs will respond to a release to support the RRT and to decontaminate those who have been exposed to released materials. Although FEMA does not type DSTs, Maine does have them train to the NFPA 472 standard for operations level training.. Initial training for individual members will include an operations level training program that involves about 30 hours of training both in the classroom and the field. Beyond this will be training in NIMS, specialized equipment and decontamination methods. All told it is not unusual to have a team member receive 100 or more hours of training in their first year.

 

 

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